Do Wages Matter? A Backward Bend in the 2004 California RN Labor Supply


Charlene Harrington, Martin Kitchener, Jean Ann Seago, Joanne Spetz, Michelle Tellez

Aug 2009

Using data from the 2004 California Board of Registered Nursing Survey, a two-stage least-square equation was estimated to examine the effect of wages on hours worked by female registered nurses. Wages were found to have a nonlinear effect on hours worked, with a backward bending supply curve. Wages had a positive effect on the average hours worked per week up to $24.99 per hour and a negative effect between $30.00 and $100.00 per hour when compared with the wage category of $25.00 to $29.99. Results suggest that wages are important to secure the labor supply but do not increase aggregate supply beyond a wage threshold.